My 3 yr old daughter took this pic of me

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Should My Kids Do Chores? Part 2

We all really love our kids. We don't want to be hard on them and want them to have a fun childhood and not have to work too hard or be burdened. That's not truly loving our kids, though. They will grow up and expect to get places in life with minimal effort and that is not how life works. We know that, of course, but our kids don't and we have to share that valuable information with them in the form of work. 

Here are some really good reasons to have your kids helping out around the house:

1. They will learn to be organized and tidy which will help them to minimize stress and manage their lives better.
2. They learn the value of work.
3. Mom will have more time to spend with the kids if she's not doing all the work. A burnt out mom is not a fun mom. 
4. They learn independence.
5. They develop valuable skills.
6. They learn to appreciate the work of others.
7. It helps them to feel valued.
8. It gives them a sense of ownership and pride.
9. They learn the value of serving others. 
10. If they don't learn to take responsibility now, they certainly won't later.

So what age should your kids start helping out? I think that depends on the child. I start when they are quite young, about 15 months old or so. We play the clean up game and they participate in putting their baby toys in the basket. Following is a list of chores and skills and ages they are appropriate for. Of course, the easy chores are appropriate for older children, too, but I will try to list them under the ages that are appropriate for teaching the chore. You should not assign all the chores in one category to one child, but determine for yourself what needs to be done and how many of the chores your child is capable of handling at a time. 

Ages 2-3 
(Most of these will just be "helping" and not really doing an amazing job, they should work with someone and not alone)

Help pick up toys
Help set the table
Choose clothing
Brush teeth
Wipe front of appliances/cupboards
Help fold rags, dishcloths, and facecloths
Make their bed
Put laundry in the dryer
Wipe lightswitch plates
Hang up pajamas 
Put on socks
Wash hands and face (with help)
Straighten shoes - line them up

Ages 4-5

Choose clothing
Get dressed
Put away pajamas
Make bed
Brush teeth
Tidy bedroom (with guidance)
Set table
Clear table
Help fold laundry
Spot clean floor or walls
Feed pets
Water plants
Change hand towels in bathroom and kitchen
Help with baking
Wipe up a spill
Wipe off seats of kitchen chairs
Empty bathroom garbage
Put dirty clothes in hamper
Help load the washing machine
Help rinse dishes
Wash face and hands   
Put on shoes and coat
Help carry small items to the car
Pick up garbage in the car
Help wipe seats in the car
Help bring the yard toys back to the house
Clean bathroom sink and counter
Clean out the lint trap in the dryer 
Know address and phone number

Ages 6-9

Tidy bedroom
Comb hair
Floss teeth
Help fold laundry
Take dirty laundry to the laundry room
Empty dryer and load wet clothes into dryer
Clean and trim nails
Separate own dirty and clean laundry
Change sheets on bed
Empty dishwasher
Wipe table and counters
Put away own laundry
Tidy main areas (living and dining room and entrance)
Wipe toilet seat
Put away books and movies
Help younger child learn a chore
Take phone message
Fold blankets
Weed garden
Clean tv and computer screens
Take out garbage
Take out recycling
Clean mirrors
Empty wastebaskets
Help with meal prep
Bake (with help when using the oven)
Put groceries away
Clean windows and mirrors in car
Learn measurement
Make emergency call 
Clean pet cages 
Read a map 

Ages 10-12

Clean bedroom
Wash own laundry
Tidy dresser drawers
Get up on time
Make basic meals
Clean the bathroom
Shovel walk or deck
Vacuum out vehicle
Make small repairs
Teach chores to younger children
Clean under sink and wipe out kitchen cupboards
Clean out fridge
Mop floors
Load dishwasher
Put away leftovers
Help put seatbelts on younger children
Pack bags needed for outings
Make snacks
Wash and dry dishes by hand
Wash windows
Fold laundry neatly, without wrinkles
Flip mattress
Replace lightbulbs (understand wattage) 
Water gardens and grass
Sort laundry according to color, dirt, fabric
Measure properly 
Open a savings account 
Pack own lunch 
Learn first aid emergency procedures 
Basic baby care 
Repair toys and books
Compare quality and prices 
Hang a picture on the wall
Check smoke detectors
Ages 13-15

Plan and cook a healthy meal
Mow the lawn
Fix a bike tire
Simple sewing/mending
Budget allowance
Detail car
Hand wash delicates
Shop for clothing
Trim trees and shrubs
Replace fuse or know where breakers are
Polish furniture
Clean rugs with a steam cleaner
Unplug a drain with chemicals and plunger
Organize closets
Read/understand ingredient labels
Do own clothing inventory
Take a bus
Know emergency first aid and cpr procedures
Plan a party
Fill car with gas
Check oil and washer fluid 
Iron clothing
Understand stain treatment
Clean carseats 
Ages 16-18

Change a tire
Change the oil
Fix a bike
Household repairs
Use power tools safely
Paint a room
Learn to properly use credit card
Plan groceries for a week and shop for them
Return item to store
Clean out oven
Run errands
Understand expenses and pay bills
Get a job
Wash the car
I fully understand that not every child will be able to accomplish everything in the age category that I've placed it. I have known 2 year olds that could pick out their own clothes and 6 year olds that can't dress themselves. These are only guidelines and a place to start from. You determine what you think your child would be capable of and if they can't do everything on the list, that's not a big deal. Start with a few things and master them and then add to it. 

I read a book called 401 Ways to Get Your Kids to Work at Home by Bonnie Runyan McCullough and Susan Walker Monson and I would recommend it. It is full of great ideas and charts and plans and is a great asset no matter where your family is at right now. If you'd like a copy of the book, you can pick one up at Chapters Indigo or possibly at your local library.    

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